By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
When one thinks of artifacts from 2000 years ago, Northern West Virginia is not the first place that comes to mind.
Moundsville, however, is the home of the largest conical mound of the Adena people, standing at almost 70 feet high and nearly 300 feet in diameter. Over 60,000 tons of earth was moved in order to build the mound and, like many ancient wonders, many of the details remain unknown.
When local amateurs began excavating the mound in the late 1800’s, they discovered two burial vaults. Since then, artifacts and remains have been recovered and studied by notable archeologists from around the world, enabling them to piece together some of the daily routines and burial rites of the Adena people.
In 1978, The Delf Norona Museum opened in Moundsville in order to give the public access to the artifacts and preserve the historical significance.
Through February, the museum will offer a unique opportunity to children who are intrigued by the cave painting often found in the Adena culture. Instead of modern-day technology being at the forefront, they will be able to create one-of-a-kind petroglyph postcards modeled after the cave paintings. Through Valentine’s Day, the museum will offer supplies to make the prehistoric postcards using Valentine’s Day materials. After that, kids can use their imagination to create whatever theme they wish through the end of the month.
Equally unique for travelers is another museum in Moundsville, The Archive of the Afterlife: National Museum of the Paranormal. Featuring artifacts that are said to be haunted, the museum is designed to both educate and intrigue. One of the more famous artifacts on display is the execution cap from the West Virginia State Penitentiary.
For those wishing to forgo the flowers and chocolate, The West Virginia Penitentiary will also be offering a special treat for Valentines’ Day as well. The “In the Heart of the Dungeon” Tour will feature a romantic dinner followed by a terrifying interactive tour of the reportedly haunted penitentiary, complete with over 30 actors who capitalize on every fear imaginable.
For history, hauntings or simply curiosity, the Moundsville area is full of mystery and entertainment for those who wish to go beyond the usual Valentine’s Day traditions.